Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Monday, September 19, 2005

How To Not Screw Up Marvel Franchises: 3.24

As an increasingly avid comic book/graphic novel fan [the roomie is wearing off on me] I would like to present the Marvel company with some fun, easy ways to avoid wasting the potential of their material.
Just in case you didn't hear: Marvel recently launched an independent, well-funded production entity.

I know the temptation will be to launch a dozen potential tentpoles, but if you do that, Mr. Arad, you're likely to see the whole tent of the Marvel company come crashing down. Some of them, sure, some are practically begging to be made into movies [Captain America, Nick Fury, maybe Hawkeye], but be careful as you re-launch the careers of some of the lesser-known superheroes. Because, frankly, a lot of these characters aren't ready for the big screen: they don't have the type of cachet that makes the kiddies run for the multiplex to stare at their favorite superheroes doing what superheroes do for two hours. Now, "Fantastic Four" might've made it seem like all you gotta do for a successful superhero movie is put a hot chick in some skin-tight garments and have things explode for hours, but movie-goers are interested in a little something more-- in cases of movies over than the Fantastic Four.

So the important thing to remember is: don't make all of the franchises into movies. Try a tv series or two, maybe a totally unconventional Adult Swim-like show for one of them [my vote's for Ant Man or Black Panther]. Then perhaps straight-up kids cartoons for maybe two more [Power Pack, Cloak & Dagger, Shang-Chi]. Tentpoles are fine, but just make sure you've got some good, easy-money canvas or otherwise you may find the big-top of crashing down around your ears.

Ready for his close-up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear lord, I so agree.

9:55 AM

Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

Speaking as someone who uses his geek genes every day to make a living, I have to agree for the most part. Marvel needs to diversify its lineup and find the right media for its characters.

There are some that rightfully deserve big screen treatment (Thor) and there are others that could/should be reimagined for DVD, TV, etc...(Nighthawk).

But as long as they remember what made the character cool in the first place, that one element that set it apart from other characters, I think they should do okay.

11:32 AM

Anonymous Enrique said...

As someone who used to read a lot of comics (before The Gimmick/Reinvention Era ruined it) I agree as well. I've seen some of the properties they want to put on the screen and immediately go, "uh, NO". Seriously, Iron Fist? Shang-Chi? Cloak & Dagger? Power Pack??? Even if 100% of Power Pack's fans saw the movie, it would have to cost like $1mil (before all marketing/distro nonsense) to make in order to break even.
Your money's in the big names, Marvel. X-Men, FF, Avengers and all related titles are your guaranteed bets.

5:03 PM

Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

Sorry Enrique, but I have to disagree about your "dis" on the following:

Iron Fist - has the potential to be a great HK styled martial arts movie. White guy raised in Tibet by monks. Get a HK movie director and stuntperson and you have an interesting movie concept.

Shang-Chi - a pulpy martial arts story set in London, where the son has to stop his evil father - Fu Manchu. Set it in the thirties and it becomes just as 'weird and wonderful' as the Mummy movies.

Cloak & Dagger - 2 kids, one black, the other white, have to learn to get along in order to survive the powers that have been forced on them by an experimental drug.

Power Pack - it's a movie about kids who get SUPERPOWERS! What kid isn't going to want to see that? It's SPY KIDS with superpowers (and we all know how much those movies made at the box office and DVD shelf).

Some of these should be made for the Big screen and others for the small. But again, all of them need to find that one quality that makes them unique. They forgot that with the following:

PUNISHER - a clone of bad 80's action pics that debuted on video.

ELEKTRA - forgot that there is a darkness underneath that pretty face.

THE HULK - tried to give us a reason for Banner's becoming the Hulk (some insane plan of his father's)and forgot that the beast is always there in each and every one of us. They heaped pseudo-science upon pseudo-psychology in an attempt to make the Hulk more "adult". The Hulk is a raging child with absolutely no restraint of emotion. Banner is his exact opposite. Jeckyll and Hyde. So simple a concept it escaped their notice.

6:24 PM

Blogger Jason Sanders said...

YOu have to remember, comic books are stories that because they've been written so well that they've kept an audience for 30 years (and more in some cases).

When I go see History of Violence later this month, I'm not going because it was a comic book, I'm going because it sounds cool.

Thats what comic books are, concepts. If you promote it as a comic book movie, then yes, people will view it differently. But if its promoted like any other sci-fi/action/thriller movie then thats where you can grab a whole 'nother audience who wouldn't have gone.

7:18 PM

Anonymous Enrique said...

Bill, I totally hear where you're coming from... I wasn't knocking the quality of the properties... I'm strictly going by the numbers. I just don't believe the properties I singled out have enough of a fan base to warrant having a movie made. Sure, if you do the movie right and have the right marketing behind it you go beyond the fan base, but that's not all that common with comic-based movies.
Case in point, "Man-Thing". I never read it but many people claimed it was a great horror comic. Not only was there NO clout on Man-Thing, but it went straight to video. Hell, my rental store doesn't even know about it it's so obscure.
My concern is that Marvel is sinking in $50-165mil into these movies (per Variety's article), I think most will bomb, and it will ruin the public's opinion on comic-based movies the way the Punisher and the later Batman and Superman sequels did in the 80s and 90s. Whether or not they're good is a non-issue... good movies tank all the time.

7:26 PM


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